Germany’s War Debt to Greece
Finally, the subject of Germany’s war debt to Greece has surfaced.
During World War II, Hitler forced credit on the Greek Quisling Government after looting its banks in 1943. This debt, $205 billion in today’s money, plus the interest since 1945, comes to a whopping 750 billion dollars, enough money for Greece not only to pay back all its debts but to put some of its unemployed to work again.
Just a week ago the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said “Greece should forget what is owed (the German war debt to Greece) and should concentrate in righting its fiscal house.” This by selling off the house silver and by firing scores of public employees in the midst of a great and forced depression and of 30% unemployment.
In not so many words, it ain’t happening. No way.
A week later all of Golden Dawn 16 MPs, Greece’s neo-Nazi party, were absent from the discussion in the Greek Parliament on the subject of asking Germany to pay its debt to Greece, seconding Wolfgang’s admonition.
It is well known that Greece never received compensation from Germany for the destruction and looting of Greek properties during the German occupation and that Greece never gave up its claims. This sum of course does not address Greek deaths, the highest in percent of population suffered by any European nation during the war and the subsequent occupation, and excluding the forced march of the Greek Jewish minority into the death camps of Germany and Poland.
On 4/26, the German conservative Die Welt, on an article about that parliamentary debate, became the first newspaper to finally open a dialogue with the German people on this issue. It headlined: "Mr. Schauble talk about the war debt.” And the story went on: “This moral danger could put Germany under pressure sooner or later. At least symbolically show kindness, possibly with a partial waiver of the sums owed by Greece, to which you may eventually have to forgive anyway, since Greece can never repay them.”
What is interesting is the absence of a call for justice for its own sake. Instead the call is framed in terms of charity and of monetary, capitalist, interest. The paper is saying to the minister of finance, “Come on, Wolfgang, you are into finance, can’t you see that we can have a win-win for Germany here? Let’s admit we owe them. Let’s say we pay them some, not all. The 205 billion, for instance, and forget the interest. We can take that from the left pocket, the German state budget into which every German pays in, and we can put it in the right pocket, the Deutsche Bundesbank.”
Is this nifty or what?
In my village they say, “Where there is no cat roaming there is no mischief.”
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